My name is Imad Ismail and I just want to share with you how Pennine Lancashire Community Farm has really changed me as a person. I joined the kid’s club as a timid 12-year-old, and if I hadn’t joined then I wouldn’t be as confident as I am today. The experience has shown me, has given me an eye opener into how much opportunities I am given, and how I can practically take them. Later I would undertake work experience with PLCF and working with schools and the PLCF have all helped to make me able to do tasks much more easily, and importantly, to help those around me. I can definitely see a change from how I was at the start to now, how much I have progressed as an individual
First of all, I was a member of the Get Grubby club, which takes place every half term holiday. I started in 2014, I would go frequently, every half term I think. The club itself was fun and with the help of the staff, though I didn’t realise it at the time, it enabled me to become much more confident, as we would do group activities and generally just engaging in fun we had. When I started at the club I was one not to engage and wouldn’t get involved in group activities, I was the one at the back who didn’t really want to speak up. The grubby club was a very successful start for me as I got to know new people and the staff at the club were absolutely amazing, always there to help.
In 2017, I had turned 15, I went to a school called Sir John Thursby Community College. Our school were introducing something for the year 10’s, a chance for them to work on a placement for 2 weeks, to get a taster of work experience of a work place of our choice. As I had good contact with Pennine Lancashire Community Farm and was a frequent member, I spoke with the manager, James, asking him if I could do some work experience at the community farm. I had a very good response and started working that March.
I definitely knew that I had become much more confident within myself, I had sorted my own placement, I was able to go out and talk to people. All the staff were very supportive and kind, almost made me feel as I had been working for a while. I had become very close with the staff and they would help me in any difficulties I faced. My employees I worked with were: Nick, Ed and Helen and the manager, James.
As the week progressed a few schools had come to do some gardening workshops, the people from these school had youngsters who had disabilities a new challenge I knew wasn’t going to be easy, but working with these people was absolutely amazing
In the first week of my placement, I had mainly an introduction to the site, Ed took me to a few garden centres were we would collect necessities for the sitr we were working on. As the week progressed a few schools had come to do some gardening workshops, the people from these school had youngsters who had disabilities a new challenge I knew wasn’t going to be easy, but working with these people was absolutely amazing and I really enjoyed working with such incredible and talented people.
The workshops enabled them to get out of their comfort zone. The young people were much fun to work with and also very kind to each other, from here and on I believed in myself more because I knew I could achieve the best, my confidence allowed me to do so much better things and gave me new opportunities to try. The staff as usual were also a fantastic team bringing the youngsters together, allowing me to work with such fantastic people, really was a privilege.
As the second week came along the top site of the community farm needed the paths repairing by embedding new wood chips onto their pathways. I would gravel the wood-chips and put them in to the wheel barrow with the rest of team, when we had enough barrels full we carried them along the paths and put the new wood-chips in. The work placement really gave me an eye opener as to working with people with disabilities showing it wasn’t going to be easy but slowly getting to know them was very enjoyable and gave me an insight to work, which I really enjoyed, and couldn’t thank the staff enough for me giving me a fantastic opportunity.
Now in 2018, I have come back to Pennine Lancashire Community Farm, this time working as a member of staff on a 2-week placement just before I start my A levels in college in September. I am working from the hours of 10-4 pm and have really gotten to know the staff really well, as I am office based I am helping them with any extra work needed doing and organising the kids club, from first being part of it, now actually running the club and doing activities with the kids.
From the beginning, of being all shy not being able to participate, I would have never of thought I would be in this position, but the grubby club has allowed me to be myself and given me such good opportunities allowing me to believe in myself. It has made me able to speak up more and just generally being able to do things I wouldn’t have imagined when I was younger.